26th Space Aggressor Squadron welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jessica Martin
  • 926th Group public affairs
The 26th Space Aggressor Squadron, a tenant on the installation and unit under the 926th Group at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., held an assumption of command here Nov. 3.

Lt. Col. Daniel Bourque assumed command of the Air Force Reserve squadron during a ceremony at the Space Aggressor Warehouse.

"I can't tell you how proud I am to be part of this organization," Bourque said.
"This squadron that served in France in World War I, a squadron that flew experimental aircraft, a squadron that lost 10 of its own on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked, a squadron that fought at Midway, a squadron that was there in every major campaign in the Pacific theater, a squadron that sat nuclear alert in B-36 and B-52 aircraft during the Cold War. A squadron that trained our fighter pilots to be the best in the world as one of the original Aggressor squadrons. A squadron that continues today to prepare our forces for the next fight."

As commander, Bourque is responsible for the squadron's mission of replicating enemy threats to space-based and space-enabled systems during tests and training exercises. By using Global Positioning System and satellite communications jamming techniques, the squadron provides Air Force, joint and coalition military personnel with an understanding of how to recognize, mitigate, counter and defeat these threats.

Additionally, he oversees the training of modern warfighters to operate in an environment where critical systems like GPS and SATCOM are interfered with or denied--preparing them for the current and future fights, and guaranteeing United States battlefield dominance well into the 21st century.

"The 26th Space Aggressors have been blessed by some tremendous leadership--folks that took a vision and a few people and turned it into a world-class organization," Bourque said. "They did that by recruiting some of the best and brightest officers, non-commissioned officers and Airmen that have ever worn the uniform. I am honored to serve with you and to serve you."

Bourque attended the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and earned his commission into the Air Force in 1995. He served in the Regular Air Force as a Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile crew commander and instructor at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation for missile warning and space surveillance operations at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska. He was selected as one of the first operators in the Air Force's emerging space control mission and attended USAF Weapons School before being assigned to the Space Warfare Center at Schriever AFB to develop space control tactics.

Upon joining the Reserve, he served as the Chief of Tactics, Field Commander and Training Flight Commander for the 26th SAS, an instructor at the Advanced Space Operations School and the Director of Operations for Detachment 1, 8th Space Warning Squadron, Schriever AFB.

"Lieutenant Colonel Bourque is going to excel at leading the 26th SAS to the next level of accomplishment," said Col. John Breeden, 926th Group Commander and presiding official.

"My charge to you is to be humble, to be approachable, to be credible; more importantly, to be a servant leader. Your job is the care and feeding of the men and women of the 26th, and I'll be watching."

The 26th SAS is the oldest squadron in the Air Force Reserve and one of the oldest in the Air Force. It was founded in 1914 by Raynal Bolling as the Army Signal Corps' 1st Aero Company, part of the New York National Guard. In May 1917 it was re-designated the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron. With the United States' involvement in World War I, the squadron was sent to France, arriving on September 17, 1917. On October 1, 1917, the squadron was again re-designated, this time as the 26th Aero Squadron. The 26th AS flew the DH-4 in combat and trained other American combat aviators to fly the same aircraft. The squadron received the World War I Theater of Operations service streamer.

After the war, the 26th AS went on to become a pursuit squadron, an attack squadron and a bomber squadron flying the DH-4 and other experimental aircraft at Kelly Field, Texas. Re-designated the 26th Attack Squadron in 1923, the squadron adopted the familiar blue and gold "Shield and Fist" designator in 1924 and was inactivated later that same year. In 1930 the squadron was reactivated at Wheeler Field in the Territory of Hawaii as the 26th Bombardment Squadron, where it flew the A-3, PW-9, A-12 and B-18.

In 1940 the 26th BS, still in the Territory of Hawaii, moved to Hickam Field and transitioned to the B-17 Flying Fortress. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the 26th BS lost 10 personnel when Japanese bombs struck their barracks during the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor and surrounding military installations. Still reeling from the attack, and despite their personnel losses, the squadron was in the air and on patrol December 8. The 26th BS distinguished itself during the Pacific "Island Hopping" campaigns of World War II, initially flying the B-17 and, beginning in 1943, the B-24 Liberator. The squadron was credited with the first sinking of a Japanese submarine by air attack. The 26th BS would ultimately earn 10 campaign streamers in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

During the Cold War the 26th BS was on the front lines of the nuclear deterrence mission, picking up its first B-36 Peacemakers in 1949, the largest bomber ever operationally flown. The squadron was the last B-36 squadron to win the Fairchild Trophy awarded to the best bomber unit in Strategic Air Command. The squadron transitioned to the B-52 Stratofortress in 1958, flying the "BUFF" until 1968 when the unit was inactivated.

In 1973, with the creation of the Aggressor program, the squadron was reactivated as the 26th Tactical Fighter Squadron. In 1975 the squadron was re-designated the 26th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron. The squadron initially flew the T-38 as an adversary aircraft before receiving its first F-5s in 1977 when it was re-designated the 26th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron. In 1983 the squadron was re-designated the 26th Aggressor Squadron. With the United States' victory in the Cold War, the squadron was inactivated in 1990.

In the years that followed the end of the Cold War and the inactivation of the 26th AS, the Air Force recognized a need for a wide array of aggressor units--squadrons that could train U.S. and allied forces to recognize and counter the full spectrum of adversary threats. The 527th SAS stood up at Schriever AFB as the first unit of its kind in 2000, augmented by a flight of Reserve Space Aggressors.

That flight continuously expanded to meet the ever-emerging threat and eventually reactivated as the 26th SAS as part of the Air Force Reserve on October 1, 2003, exactly 86 years after the squadron's initial "26th" designation, and more than 86 years after its initial tour of duty as a Reserve Aero Squadron.